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Hagerty Employee

This '31 Chevy "Sho Bird" is your 2022 Autorama Ridler winner

The Detroit Autorama returned this year, following a pandemic-related hiatus that canceled the 2021 event. While show organizers haven't yet released official attendance figures, the sense on the ground was that car lovers returned in droves. Lest you think that the Detroit Autorama is a showcase reserved for hot rods or wild customs based on [...]
146 REPLIES 146

A bit overstyled for sure. It's a show car so I expect some of that. The turbos in front is pretty crazy and likely would be pretty laggy.
Pit Crew

Sure it's over the top. And totally impractical. So what? The paint and chrome are beautiful, the craftsmanship awesome. It is exactly what it was meant to be, which is art, NOT transportation. Art is, by definition, subjective, and every work of art won't appeal to every observer. Personally I also prefer a cleaner design, and wouldn't have voted for this car, but it doesn't deserve such negativity.

Why?  What's the point other than Hagerty trying to determine how much inexpensive content they can purvey in their online edition and keep most viewers happy?


We like to have big tent open minds, but really, gauche, garish, uneducated sixth grade boy with time and money are all that come to the fore regarding the above.

If you want an adult custom, cut and paste into your browser:,18746/1938-packard-1601-eight_photo.aspx


I don't necessarily like the cars that win Best of Show at Pebble Beach or Amelia Island but they are newsworthy, just like a Ridler Award winner.

RR -- Hear you loud and clear.  That's why i use the expression "big tent."  But neither do we salute everything lauded at the janitorial d' nonelegances of Amelia Island or Bauble Beach, the latter won by billionaires 2019 and 2021 (2020 preempted by COVID).

  Just as Hagerty shouldn't  waste space reporting nonsense better suited for Rod & Custom.

Intermediate Driver

Beautiful Packard!

If cars were women this would be whore.
Pit Crew

Too gaudy at the very least. Where was Foose or Kindig in all this! They could have shown them how it is done. Restraint!
Pit Crew

At this level, this is automotive art. As such, it will not appeal to everyone.
I admire the builders skill, engineering, and vision as well as the owners vision. But, this creation just does not do it for me.

I'm not dissing this amazing creation at all. All I'm saying is it is not for me as my sense of hot rod style embraces what an old hot rodder from the 60's described as the "hiccup philosophy". That is, if your eye starts at the front or back and "hiccups" as it moves either way, it is not a pleasing design.

I whole heartedly congratulate the winners though.
New Driver

Yes, it takes a HUGE, HUGE amount of talent (and $$$$$$$) to build something like this but I'm just not in love with it. Sad but true.
Pit Crew

This is what a show car is all about , you have to take a deep breath, relax and begin to look at all the detail, angles, curves and try to enjoy the passion that was put into this example of automotive art. I wish I could expose my kids to this car , to stimulate their imaginations.
Intermediate Driver

Someone had too much time, too much money and too little taste.

New Driver

Sorry, but I snort laughed when I saw this thing. It looks like a spider with a goofy expression on its face. The rest of the folks here have described the things that don't make sense, so I won't repeat. Big Daddy Ed Roth must have been a big influence in their early years.
Intermediate Driver

Somewhere, George Barris is smiling very broadly!
New Driver

What were the judges smoking? Looks like a vacuum cleaner on steroids from the front and like any other hot rod from there. But what do I know? I don't have $500,000 to piss away.
Intermediate Driver

I'm really disappointed by this year's winner. It looks like a display at a plumbing convention rather than the type of classically designed and immaculately wrought masterpiece that traditionally wins the Ridler Award. Reading between the lines, I honestly think that you feel the same way, especially with the infinitely more pleasing '34 Ford that was included.....probably for contrast. Offer the keys to both cars to 100 people, to be driven for one year, and I seriously doubt that the "winner" would have a single taker.
Intermediate Driver

FUGLY....IMNSVHO but to each their own! Liked some of the other cars much better! If you've got the bucks, you can build whatever you desire. Congrats regardless to the owners for the Ridler award...John
Advanced Driver

Cool, but looks like the radiator is blocked off.
Intermediate Driver

Not what I'd consider a timeless build. Will become dated in short order, were it not a Riddler winner.

This has just turned into one of those ''who has the most money to spend'' to buy the trophy. Cars look nice, but when you can only win buy spending money for fancy parts, it no longer means very much to a real car enthusiast. Gone is the day of one person working on his car for a show. It's now up to a body shop, a paint shop, parts dealers, etc. etc.
Pit Crew

Not my cup of tea. Wouldn't want to be seen driveing it.

The turbine header collector stacks run awfully close alongside the front fenders. How much heat vs the layers of fender paint? I believe to enter the show each entry must be able to drive said entry at least 20 miles to the event location. I'm guessing "BLING" comes first, drivability a distant last in these kinds of shows.

That is going to give me nightmares!

Forcing these people to drive these cars 10 miles, not just onto the show floor might actually get some functional cars. This thing looks like a bunch of chrome pipe that was added just to be added. Also it might be nice if they had to prove everything works otherwise it is just a "Batmobile".

Long time hot rod guy here. IMHO, someone spent a ton of money on the winning car and missed the mark terribly. Bling does not a good, custom hot rod make.
Intermediate Driver

Too much going on.Sensory overload.

I don't see a "car", I see a mountain of cash that resulted in rolling art.
Intermediate Driver

My preferred was Fleet 41, a 4 door Chevrolet transformed in 2 door. These 2 turbos sucking dirt are not accepted by my mechanical engineer education.

It was a lot to take in, I am sure I could have spent 4 hours just trying to see everything on just that build.

I enjoyed the Great 8, some amazing builds.

Good time was had by all.

I am not sure that would have been my final choice.


Pretty amazing though.




It makes my eyes hurt, and I'm not the only one: most people in its presence have their backs to it.
New Driver

Lots of comments here about judging Ridler cars for elegance, beauty, styling and design.

NONE of those are actual Ridler award criteria. The Award is based on 3 primary criteria;
Creativity, Engineering and Workmanship.

IMHO,the 2022 winner excelled in all 3 of those areas.

From the MHRA website, here is an excerpt of the stated Ridler Award Guidelines and Rules:

Ridler Guidelines and Rules

Don Ridler was the first professional promoter hired by the MHRA to assist them with their fledgling Autorama in the fifties. With Don's creativity and professional approach in promoting, Autorama was able to grow tremendously and eventually move to its present home at Cobo Center in 1961. In 1963, Promotions, Inc. (now Championship Auto Shows, Inc.) and the MHRA decided to honor Don Ridler, who had prematurely passed away, with an award given in his name.

Originally, the award was given to the Best Vehicle first-time shown. Over the last forty years the award has evolved to better conform to new ideas, changing designs and concepts. Today it emphasizes creativity, engineering and workmanship. Anyone building a vehicle for Ridler competition should post these words on their garage wall. The vehicle that best represents those three areas will win the Ridler Award.

In addition to those judging guidelines, there are a few hard and fast rules, with no exceptions.

1. The vehicle must make its first public showing at the Detroit Autorama. Showing the vehicle at any indoor or outdoor show or any part of the entry, i.e. frame, engine or body, will make it ineligible for contention.

Realizing that car owners and builders may need some form of exposure to develop interest or to gain sponsorship and give credit to suppliers and/or sponsors, magazine build-up coverage is allowed. No articles or stories with photos of the vehicle in finished form will be allowed until after the award has been presented.

2. The vehicle must prove minimal operability. It must start, stop, move forward and backward, turn left and right, before it is placed on the floor for display. Keep in mind that this is a minimum to qualify. Operational functionability is something the judges will look at.

Because of the number of entries contending for the Great Eight, the process of elimination will begin on Thursday evening after move-in has been completed. Entries do not need to be 100% set-up but should be to a state that can be evaluated fairly. The Great 8 Finalists will be announced Friday morning and they will be introduced at the Circle of Champions Brunch on Saturday morning.

Owners and builders should also keep in mind that they may be asked during the weekend to close up their vehicle to be checked for fit and finish and to make sure everything is operational.


What I want to know is, what's under the hood of the Studebaker truck? Why is the engine completely hidden under a cover? Is it electric?
Pit Crew

ugh-lee! A 1958 Buick was prettier than this, and it was butt ugly.
Pit Crew

Talent and money but... no. The good that could be achieved with resources like that; what a waste. The Ridler award credibility is going the way of politicians. Something back room had to have happened here. So sad.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but not the kind of car you would park at Walmart. To each his own.

Show car's_
Pretty to look at.
Un-drivable, at best.
_ imagine sucking a Rock at speed with your "Turbo's open faced"

The judges are usually
long time friends

First, it was, and always will be Cobo Hall. Second, no need to comment on the car. Most comments have covered it.
New Driver

Agreed. Ugh!
Intermediate Driver

WAYYYY too busy
WAYYYY too much chrome
and.....what's up with those hideous rear fenders!?
Pit Crew

Ughx2... Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.
Advanced Driver

The Ridler Award winner is nothing short of hideous! Whatever happened to clean and understated?
New Driver

Ah yes, neat colors, great ingenuity, and wild design....
Bet it won't see the 3000 miles my street rod saw in a year.
Just another 'here is a buncha money, build me a car' scenario.
Yes, to each their own.
Intermediate Driver

A bit busy, I should think.
Pit Crew

My two friends and I love vintage Indian motorcycles. Two of us started with basket case 1940 Sport Scouts, while the third started with a 1939 Sport Scout rolling and running bike. We each customized our bikes to our tastes. We all used the same fabricator for our builds and came out with 3 completely different motorcycles. The 1939 became a period racer replica. The other basket case became a 648 replica (a 1948 Scout factory racer) with a custom aluminum tank and nickel-plated frame. My bike transformed into a mild custom street cruiser.
All three are appreciated differently by those who see them.
Why the explanation? Simply this: The best thing about a custom vehicle is that it suits YOUR taste. The worst thing about a custom vehicle is that it suits YOUR taste.
What I find attractive, you might not. Regardless, I can appreciate the creativity and effort put into a vehicle that in the end does not suit my taste.
So, I appreciate this vehicle, and will leave it at that.

Reminds me of Rick Dobbertin's J2000. Wretched excess and totally unusable. But to each his own.